Last week’s PTI/news headlines read something like this:
UPSC exam: 3 girls clinch top three slots in Rajasthan, 9 from J-K including 3 women crack civil services, 3 Delhi women among top 4 in civil services results.
The Civil Services in India are a much sought after career. From among the lakhs of candidates that take this exam with its different stages extending through an entire year, it is nothing short of winning the world cup. The only difference being that the victory is a personal achievement.
On the golden list of UPSC, one of the names is of Sanskriti Jain, the All India Rank number 11.
All the candidates who make it through the last leg of the exam—the interview, are allotted ranks. Only a top ranker makes it to the IAS (Indian Administrative Services), others get IPS (Indian Police Service), IFS (Indian Foreign Services), Railways etc.
Sanskriti had cleared the exam twice earlier. She took it a third time with the desire to join the Indian Administrative Services and her efforts bore fruit this time round.
Born in Srinagar, Sanskriti has travelled extensively and studied in six different schools in different corners of the country. Her experiences of growing up have been varied courtesy her parents who were in the Indian Air Force.
She graduated from BITS, Pilani (Goa campus). “My college years were one of the longest stays in one place for me. I am grateful, that I had the opportunity to attend BITS, Pilani. It really transformed me into the person that I am today.”
After graduation, with the will to explore diverse fields, Sanskriti took up a fellowship with PRS
Legislative Research as a Legislative Assistant to Member of Parliament (LAMP) for a year from 2011-2012. Towards the end of 2012 she joined the Centre for Policy Research as a Research Assistant in Delhi.In December last year, she joined the IRS (Indian Revenue Service) and is currently undergoing training at the National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT). “This is an amazing service, as it generates funds for all government functions,” she says.
Sanskriti decided to take the exam towards the end of her LAMP fellowship. During through the course of the fellowship she had become interested in policy making in India and realized that the best platform to be a part of this was through the civil services.
For someone who has taken this exam more than once and cleared it every time till she got the ranking of her choice, it is proof that Sanskriti is persistent. According to her, the exam is a tough one for it tests the application of mind and strength of character. The current pattern of UPSC requires an understanding of concepts in varied fields like economics, science and technology, history, geography, political science, international relations etc. “If one has a firm grasp on the subject, then preparation requires being up to date with current affairs,” she says.
For exam preparation, her advice is simple-
A good grasp on concepts builds a strong foundation for all that needs to be studied.
For one who believes in the small joys of life, Sanskritis says, “Of course one cannot clear this exam without putting in adequate effort, but I personally do not believe that one needs to put on hold everything else in life, while preparing. The kind of preparation and hard work depends totally on the individual preparing.”
She has sought help and coaching in the first year for her optional subject-philosophy. It has been her hard work and dedication throughout that has helped her reach the pinnacle of success.
Since the different legs of the exam are spread across the year, it is important to have patience and it is essential according to her to have a great plan B.
A good plan B, an alternative in case you don’t clear the exam helps you to write the exam peacefully and helps reduces stress.
However, she strongly believes and states that clearing the UPSC exams is not the way of measuring one’s success or failure.
The results were a pleasant surprise for her, but a day after the result “The feeling of great responsibility did descend on me, when I realized the kind of work I’d be doing in the years to come.”
Sanskriti is happy to see the number of women who have cleared the exam this year. While on the subject of women, she mentions that gender discrimination in India is a fact and everyone in our country, irrespective of gender, should shoulder the responsibility of changing this.“I think, for women like me, who haven’t really faced discrimination as much, must work harder to speak up for those who are most disadvantaged,” she says.
Education, especially women’s education is close to her. “Education can transform every life. It leads to social awakening of every member of our society and creates awareness. And creating awareness at a young age helps transform the society.”
Sanskriti is looking forward to the training that will start shortly at the Academy in Mussoorie. She wants to take one step at a time to choose her field. “I think it is too early for me to make tall claims. I would like to learn about my work while at training, so that I have a strong foundation, when I come to the field.
My main aim however, would be to serve my country and its people to the best of my ability.”